My blood rarely boils. Tonight it is pumping about my body like nobodies business. You see this evening the Tories banded together and decided that Cllr. Karen Chilvers wasn’t up for being Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee because basically she was scrutinising them and wasn’t letting them do whatever they like. Interesting decision.
So they put a motion to remove her as Chair (which from what I can gather is against the actual constitution as currently written, although this seems to have been up for much debate) which succeeded tonight. A Conservative councillor will now oversee the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I’m positive a Tory will really hold the Tory administration to account but whatever. However there were two things that really fucking hacked me off.
Firstly about how personal it got. Some of the things said about Cllr. Chilvers were vile. Look you can not like someone, we get it but why does politics get so personal? It was character assassination at its absolute worst. Whatever you think of Cllr. Chilvers, like her or not, you can’t arue that she is an effective councillor who works thoroughly hard for her constituents.
At local level I really do believe that there are plenty of terrific councillors from all parties. Yes I would naturally gravitate to saying the Lib Dems are the best but I won’t sit here an say everyone from other parties or independents aren’t standing up for the people they represent and work hard to ensure they get their voice heard in council.
Tonight though the vote went along party lines, a 20-15 vote was predicted and a 20-15 vote is exactly what we got. The whole opposition spoke glowingly about Cllr. Chilvers, whether they agree with her politics or not, they thought she was working hard and being effective in her role as chair of this committee. The Tories though all banded together because they decided they didn’t want to actually have effective scrutiny, they wanted life on easy street and that brings me the second point that really made my blood boil.
The Tories clearly do not have the best interests of the residents at the core of this motion. They would prefer to have ineffective scrutiny as long as it makes their lives easier and fulfills their personal vendetta against Cllr. Chilvers. Ensuring their personal vendetta is worth them screwing the people of Brentwood they are meant to represent. How can any politican honestly think this is a good thing? How can any councillor look a constituent in the eye and say they’ll do the best they can to get the best thing done for them, when in fact they’ll do the opposite as long as it makes them feel big.
Cllr. Chilvers is a big girl who’ll carry on working hard for the people she represents. I do hope and firmly believe the people of Brentwood West saw what life was like without her and swiftly voted her back into power. These voters had so much dislike and mistrust of the Lib Dems nationally that they lost a great hard-working councillor and they quickly realised that local and national politics are vastly different.
So what have we learned from the events tonight?
Well basically the Brentwood Tories put their own agendas above those of the residents they are supposed to represent. They don’t like Cllr. Chilvers and decided that she should be removed from her position to make their lives easier and to stroke their own egos. I didn’t see the whole debate as I was on air this evening and the webcast was paused, but from what I saw seemed pretty clear that Cllr. Roger Hirst will go home this evening, look in the mirror whilst cleaning his teeth and he’ll smirk to himself, nod and think, ‘I’m a big man, I’m awesome.’
The events of tonight put the whole council to shame. It wasn’t a debate. It was a witchhunt. Cllr. Chilvers had no chance because the Tories all decided that Cllr. Chilvers was unfit for the position. Cllr. Murphy said all the councillors should be disgusted and embarrassed at what was going on. She claimed she didn’t know what a whip was and despite being appalled by everything, she still voted to remove Cllr. Chilvers. If she was that disgusted and embarrassed surely she’d be most outraged by the person who brought the motion?
I worry about politics when things get this personal. I worry when people can stand and look at another person and say some of the things they said tonight. If this was in any line of work you’d say they were bullying. One thing though is the opposition parties can point out that the Tories now do not work for residents first, they work for their own personal gratification first and that is not what the people of Brentwood deserve.
Like Cllr. Chilvers or not, she works hard and was an effective chair of that committee. Having her in that position was the best thing for the people of Brentwood but as we now know, the best thing for the people of Brentwood is not what the Brentwood Tories want. The best thing for the Brentwood Tories is what the Brentwood Tories want first and foremost and that is now plain to see to anyone that follows the local politics scene of this particular Essex borough.
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